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RAC reports biggest monthly petrol price increase for 18 years

Date: 05 June 2018   |   Author: Sean Keywood

The average price of petrol in the UK increased during May by the biggest amount for at least 18 years.

According to the RAC, the average price rose from 123.43p to 129.41p a litre - the largest rise since the organisation began recording data in 2000.

The price of diesel saw an even greater rise, from 126.27p to 132.39p, the second-highest increase on record, behind May 2008.

The RAC says the average price of petrol and diesel has gone up every single day since 22 April, adding 8p a litre in the process - the longest sustained price increase since March 2015.

The organisation says the forecourt increases have been driven by a jump in the price of oil combined with a weakening of the pound against the dollar, with oil traded in the latter currency.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: "May was a hellish month for motorists. Sadly, they have been besieged by pump price rises for three months with nearly 9p a litre being added to petrol since the beginning of March.

"The rising oil price together with a weaker pound is a punitive combination for anyone that drives regularly.

"For many people there is little alternative to the car for the majority of journeys they have to make so it is therefore very difficult to avoid feeling the pinch of rising pump prices." 

The price of oil broke through the $80-a-barrel mark twice in May for the first time since November 2014, although prices have since dropped.

Williams said: "In the last week of May the oil price cooled a little to $76 a barrel, which is slightly better news for motorists as the RAC's two-week forecast is currently showing that average prices may even reduce by a penny or so.

"While this isn't much, and could easily change in response to oil trading this week, it is at least a sign that the constant rise in forecourt prices may have stopped for the time being." 

Williams added that there was a chance an OPEC meeting on 22 June may see the group change its tactic of restricting oil supply, which could see prices fall.